wikiamp

Down from the Mountain

Down from the Mountain is a 2000 documentary and concert film featuring a live performance by country and traditional music artists who participated in the Grammy-winning soundtrack recording for the Joel and Ethan Coen film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? The concert, held at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee on May 24, 2000, was a benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The documentary was directed by Nick Doob, Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker. The artists in the concert also participated in a Down from the Mountain concert tour.

Summary

The concert film is preceded by a 30-minute documentary, featuring the various artists traveling to the Ryman Auditorium and rehearsing for the show.

Time is spent with bluegrass star Ralph Stanley, who rides in a limousine to Nashville, Tennessee, and is interviewed on radio station WSM and introduced as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry, despite having performed professionally as a country musician since the 1960s. John Hartford, who acts as master of ceremonies for the concert, is interviewed while piloting a paddlewheeler riverboat, and he talks about his time as a towboat pilot on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers. It is his last filmed appearance before his death on June 4, 2001.

T-Bone Burnett is seen working with the girl trio, the Peasall Sisters, instructing guitarist Chris Sharp to increase the tempo on their number, "In the Highways", to rock and roll speed. "Can't you relate to rock and roll?" Burnett asks the musician.

Emmylou Harris reveals her obsession with Major League Baseball, showing that she carries a Motorola pager that tracks the action in all the games being played that day.

Gillian Welch explains that Harris and Alison Krauss took delight in making her sing the highest part in their trio, "Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby", when both Harris and Krauss have higher-register voices. Harris sang the bass part on the song, which is unusual for the singer, who is well known for her role as the "angel" vocalist in duets and backing vocals with other artists.

The concert is introduced by Holly Hunter, a cast member from O Brother, Where Art Thou?. She explains the presence of cameramen on the stage by making a joke about it being "dress-down Wednesday" at the FBI and that several agents have joined the performance that night. Another cast member, Tim Blake Nelson, is seen backstage talking to Emmylou Harris, recalling a performance she gave at a bar on her 38th birthday (she jokes that she sang "38 With a Bullet"). The Coen brothers are in the crowd, as is Billy Bob Thornton.

Performances in the film

# "Po' Lazarus" – arrangement by Alan Lomax; performed by The Fairfield Four (Isaac Freeman, Wilson Waters, Robert Hamlett, Joseph Rice and Nathan Best) # "Big Rock Candy Mountain" – traditional; performed by John Hartford, vocals and fiddle; Mike Compton, mandolin; Chris Sharp, guitar; Larry Perkins, bass # "Wild Bill Jones" – traditional; performed by Alison Krauss and Union Station (Alison Krauss, vocals and fiddle; Dan Tyminski, vocals and guitar; Barry Bales, bass; Jerry Douglas, dobro; Ron Block, banjo) with Mike Compton on mandolin. # "I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome" – written by Bill Monroe and Hank Williams (1951); performed by Alison Krauss and Union Station # "Green Pastures" – traditional; performed by Emmylou Harris, vocals and guitar; Gillian Welch, vocals; David Rawlings, vocals and guitar; Jerry Douglas, dobro; Barry Bales, bass # "Indian War Whoop" – written by Hoyt Ming and Pep Steppers; performed by John Hartford, fiddle; Gillian Welch, vocals; Mike Compton, mandolin; Chris Sharp, guitar; Larry Perkins, bass # "Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby" – arrangement by Alan Lomax, T-Bone Burnett and Gillian Welch; performed by Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, and Gillian Welch # "John Law Burned Down the Liquor Sto'" – Chris Thomas King and Colin Linden, slide resonator guitars and vocals; Barry Bales, bass; Mike Compton, mandolin # "I Am Weary (Let Me Rest)" – written by Pete Kuykendall (Pete Roberts); performed by the Cox Family (Suzanne Cox, vocals and mandolin; Evelyn Cox, guitar; Sidney Cox, vocals and banjo; Willard Cox, vocals and fiddle) with Barry Bales, bass and Mike Compton, mandolin # "Will There Be Any Stars In My Crown?" – traditional; performed by the Cox Family (Suzanne Cox, vocals and mandolin; Evelyn Cox, vocals and guitar; Sidney Cox, banjo; Willard Cox, vocals and fiddle) with Barry Bales, bass and Mike Compton, mandolin # "In the Highways" – written by Maybelle Carter; performed by Leah, Sarah and Hannah Peasall, vocals; Chris Sharp, guitar After "In the highways" there is an Intermission announcement quickly followed on film by "Down in the River to Pray" # "Down in the River to Pray" – traditional; performed by Alison Krauss with the First Baptist Church Choir of White House, Tennessee # "Man of Constant Sorrow" – arrangement by Ed Haley; solo fiddle by John Hartford # "Dear Someone" – written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings; performed by Gillian Welch, vocals; David Rawlings, vocals and guitar; John Hartford, fiddle; Mike Compton, mandolin # "I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll" – written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings; performed by Gillian Welch, vocals and guitar; David Rawlings, vocals and guitar # "Keep on the Sunny Side" – written by Ada Blenkhorn and J. Howard Entwisle; performed by The Whites (Sharon White, vocals and guitar; Cheryl White, vocals and bass; Buck White, vocals and guitar) with Jerry Douglas, dobro # "Shove That Hog's Foot Further in the Bed" – written by Ed Haley; performed by John Hartford, vocals and fiddle; Mike Compton, mandolin; Chris Sharp, guitar; Larry Perkins, bass # "O Death" – traditional; performed by Ralph Stanley # "Angel Band" – traditional; performed by Ralph Stanley and cast

Soundtrack album

The soundtrack album, Down from the Mountain: Live Concert Performances by the Artists & Musicians of O Brother, Where Art Thou? was released to complement the documentary concert film. It has the complete versions of songs that are interrupted in the film by backstage chatter, including "John Law Burned Down the Liquor Sto'" by Chris Thomas King and Colin Linden and "Will There Be Any Stars?" by the Cox Family. Another track, "Sandy Land" by The Whites, does not appear in the film.

Track listing

# "Po Lazarus" (Fairfield Four) – 4:38 # "Big Rock Candy Mountain" (John Hartford) – 4:39 # "Wild Bill Jones" (Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Dan Tyminski) – 4:13 # "Blue and Lonesome" (Alison Krauss and Union Station) – 4:00 # "I Am Weary" (The Cox Family) – 3:34 # "Will There Be Any Stars?" (The Cox Family) – 3:06 # "My Dear Someone" (Gillian Welch and David Rawlings) – 3:11 # "I Want To Sing That Rock and Roll" (Gillian Welch and David Rawlings) – 2:55 #*Also appears on Welch's album, Time (The Revelator) # "Sandy Land" The Whites – 2:34 # "John Law Burned Down the Liquor Sto'" (Chris Thomas King and Colin Linden) – 4:26 # "Green Pastures" (Emmylou Harris) – 3:26 # "I'll Fly Away" (Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss) – 4:05

Chart performance